Pictured are some of our recent workshops!
Check out the links below to see summaries of the last few meetings.
2015 meetings will be the second Wednesday of the month for each quarter.
The four meetings would be 9:30 am January 14, April 8, July 8, and October 14.
Please add these dates to your calendars. The meetings will provide progress updates and any
changes in activities and should be only 1 to 2 hours in length. Locations to be determined.
Building New Economic Opportunities
Stronger Economies Together (SET) enables communities and counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region.
Creating, attracting and retaining jobs as a single rural county, in isolation from other nearby counties, is becoming increasingly ineffective. In today’s global marketplace, economic development progress is more likely to be realized when rural and metro counties work together as a region to assess, design, and implement plans that build on their assets and comparative economic strengths.
Launched in 2010 by USDA Rural Development and the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers and their land-grant university partners, the exciting initiative is now in place in nearly 40 regions in 19 states.
Phase I includes multi-county regions in eight states: Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
In Phase II includes 11 participating states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire/Vermont, New York, Texas and Washington.
Phase III, which begins this year, will include regional teams in seven additional states: Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia.
United States Department of Agriculture • Rural Development
Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge
Oklahoma counties selected to take part in national economic development opportunity
By Donald Stotts
STILLWATER, Okla. - The Kiamichi Regional and Western OK I-40 Corridor regional programs have been announced as the two Oklahoma areas that will take part in OK-SET, part of Phase Three of “Stronger Economies Together,” a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Cooperative Extension Service.
“SET is a proven, highly interactive program that helps rural residents and leaders build regional partnerships focused on their particular economic strengths,” said Brian Whitacre, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension rural development specialist and an associate professor in the department of agricultural economics.
Oklahoma was one of seven states selected to participate in Phase Three of the collaborative program. The Kiamichi Regional is comprised of Choctaw, Haskell, Latimer, Leflore, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties. The Western OK I-40 is comprised of Custer, Beckham, Caddo and Washita counties.
“We see a lot of potential for economic development in the counties situated along the interstate, and OK-SET provides us with the expertise necessary to help us turn that potential into actual benefits,” said Larry Wright, who led the application process for the Western OK I-40 regional program.
The basic format is that community and county residents and leaders in the regional program work together to identify and understand their strengths and weaknesses with the help of OK-SET professionals drawn from key state and federal agencies, land-grant university Extension programs and other public and private organizations.
Thirty-five hours of training is delivered to each SET-approved region of three or more counties. Much of the training involves hands-on work on the regional plan by team members. In addition, as many as 40 hours of technical assistance may be offered to facilitate the implementation of the regional plan.
“Our OSU Cooperative Extension county offices have done a marvelous job of getting local residents and community leaders to take part in this important economic development effort, just the type of collaborative partnership promoted by OK-SET,” said Lani Vasconcellos, Southeast District Extension family and consumer science specialist who led the application process for the Kiamichi Regional program.
USDA Rural Development Deputy Undersecretary Doug O’Brien and Ryan McMullen, Oklahoma director of USDA Rural Development, agree with Vasconcellos.
“We hear from across the nation that SET enables rural citizens to work together to determine their region’s future,” O’Brien said.
McMullen added that an increasing number of community leaders and county officials are realizing that a vital element of economic enhancement is in finding some way to reach the needed critical mass of knowledge, talents, skills and resources to effectively develop and enact a successful plan of action.
“Previous SET participants in other states have gone on to develop industry specific training programs and successfully apply for grants and other monetary assistance targeted toward economic enhancement and development,” he said.
Anyone seeking additional information about OK-SET should contact McMullen at 405-742-1000 or Whitacre at 405-744-6083.
SET Contact Information
For more information about the SET program in Western Oklahoma, contact:
Larry Wright - email: firstname.lastname@example.org - (580) 772-4192
Brian Whitacre - email: email@example.com - (580) 744-6083